When you play in the South Region, there’s never opportunity for an off-game, especially when facing Oakwood, Eastern Commerce and Jarvis.
At least that’s the philosophy at Western Tech where coach Ramesh Persaud and his cavalry fought it out in the trenches during their 2010–11 campaign.
Their determination earned them a spot in AAA city championships, and their first battle was Georges Vanier, Feb. 15.
For the Colts, it was a victory, 56-43, but not without threatening surges from a trey-scoring bench.
“We’ve been through a lot of these games,” Persaud said. “Playing in the South is the toughest basketball league in the country in my opinion.”
After jumping to a 25-14 lead at the half, he gave his charges a necessary warning.
“I told the guys (Vanier) had to have a run, they needed to do it and I prepared them for it,” he said.
Instead of anxiety, it was the Colts lackadaisical showing at an Ottawa tournament as their drive against the Vikings, point guard Kadeem Weekes said.
“In the end we were just keeping it alive,” he said. “They were having their runs but because we had our heads on our shoulders we kept going on.”
In the third quarter, Western Tech scored a high 15 points, but then the man Vanier fans called “Chief” took the court.
Harris Baffoe came off the Vikings bench dropping bombs from beyond the arc with the aid of Michael Dickson as screen.
“We were losing and I was looking at the score,” Baffoe said. “I said I have to get in there and shoot down some threes, and I did it.”
A tight game called by the referees, which led to the fouling out of captain Shaquille Legall, sapped the revival Baffoe started.
It was disheartening to see, Vikings coach Mike Milligan said.
“Unfortunately even he got called for a moving screen at the end of the game and that takes away our effectiveness,” he said. “It was one of those situations where it was too little too late.”
Adding to that was a boisterous crowd enacting the drone of a vuvuzela, the infamous World Cup horn. This led to a technical foul.
“The fact that we were hosting the game we thought that was going to be a significant advantage,” he said. “But we came out flat.”
Still, 14 points notched by Legall along with five steals, and a morale-boosting 13 by Baffoe kept the Vikings afloat.
On Western Tech’s behalf an impressive, but unnoticed total came from forward Darcy Watt. With 27 points, eight boards and two steals, Watt was key in a standout starting line-up.
Weekes added eight points, Aaron Francis with seven and Emidio Lopes marked 11 on the scoresheet.
It was a result of the strong 3-2 defensive scheme Persaud utilized.
“We used it as a weapon. We got a little bit of a lead and obviously my bench is a little short so I didn’t want to get into foul trouble,” he said. “I wanted to play the zone to mix it up a little bit.
“The man-to-man was working well and that’s a credit to the guys and their athleticism.”
Unfortunately in their semifinal match against Martingrove on Feb. 17, the Colts fell in a heartbreaker 48-47.
Before their match though, Weekes was channeling his team’s confidence.
“We’ve got to go hard, non-stop from beginning to end,” he said. “Put it all on the floor because it’s the playoffs.”
From the score of their final match, the Colts definitely obeyed their inner drive, putting in a valiant season.
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